Leaving the Comfort Zone

by Marketing Services - Cedarville, OH

Shawn M. Taylor, M.D. ’80 doesn’t have to look far to see the hand of God on her work. A pediatrician for more than 17 years, Shawn is combining her medical skills, her love of children, and her passion for international adoption into a vocation that not only meets physical needs but also ministers to the heart.

Upon graduating from Cedarville, Shawn went on to the Medical College of Ohio at Toledo, graduating in 1985. She then moved to Lexington, Kentucky, where she completed her pediatric residency and chief residency at the University of Kentucky Medical Center. Upon completion of her chief residency in 1989, Shawn settled comfortably into a large, group private practice pediatrics office in Lexington. For 16 years she worked alongside other doctors, caring for children. It was during this time that God began working on her heart regarding adoption.

Although in 1996 Shawn would have said that she knew very little about international adoption, a family who had just adopted a little girl from China requested her as their child’s pediatrician, having come to the conclusion that Shawn was the best pediatrician for an internationally adopted child. Looking back, Shawn feels that God orchestrated this meeting, as God used this incident to begin opening her heart to international adoption. But God was not only working in Shawn’s heart. At a family discussion several years later, Shawn’s oldest daughter Tori (then 7) suggested the family adopt a little girl from China. This comment caused Shawn and her husband to explore adoption, both domestic and international, but God kept returning their hearts to China. In 2002, God opened the door for Shawn and her husband to go to China, where they met and brought home their daughter, Chris.

In 2006 God led Shawn to become even more active in international adoption by stepping away from what she described as “her comfort zone” — the pediatric office where she had worked for 16 years — and leading her to set up an International Adoption (IA) Clinic at the University of Kentucky Children’s Hospital in Lexington. Through the IA Clinic, Shawn is able to focus solely on the special needs that internationally adopted children bring with them to their new home. While this clinic does not offer ongoing care to children, it does minister to families at the critical early stages of adoption by evaluating children upon arrival in the States. At the clinic, Shawn is able to screen children for diseases, transitional issues, and developmental delays while also running necessary medical tests and prescribing medicines as needed. At the same time that the IA Clinic was developing, Shawn also partnered with another local pediatrician to establish a private practice pediatrics office in Lexington as well. Shawn and her partner could then offer ongoing medical care for all children, both adopted and biological, at this general pediatrics office.
Because of her passion for adoption, Shawn was asked to be the keynote speaker at the Midwest Summit on Adoption and Orphan Relief (www.adoptionsummit.org) to be held at Fairfield Christian Church in Lancaster, Ohio on April 21, 2007. Her keynote address is titled “72 Degrees” and highlights how God moved her out of her comfort zone and into ministry with adopted children. While Shawn’s journey in adoption has focused on international adoptions, the conference will include seminars on many different aspects of adoption, including domestic adoption, cultural and family enrichment, orphan relief, and how to begin the adoption journey.
Shawn considers working with children and specifically with children adopted internationally as a special ministry. She shared, “Every child deserves a forever family.” She is thankful for the part she can play in easing the transition for both the adoptive family as well as their new child as they arrive in the States. In this way, she feels she is helping bring these precious children home to their “forever families.” Shawn encourages anyone who is interested in international adoption to contact her at shawn.taylor@uky.edu.